Takeaway: If you seek attention, content marketing is the way to go. And that means producing highly engaging, noteworthy content that spreads themselves like Ebola virus. While PR and advertising struggles to influence consumers, create value in the form of an article, podcast or video instead.
With the rise of the internet, more and more people are seeking information about a variety of topics, but are trying desperately to avoid advertising and other forms of overt marketing. After all, barely one-third of global consumers claim to trust “most of the brands they buy and use,” according to research by Edelman. And 56% report that they’re able to spot “trustwashing,” a term used to describe when “brands use societal issues as a marketing ploy to sell more of their product.”
This breakdown in trust leads to skepticism of self-promotion — brands telling you how wonderful they are. And it leads people to consume content differently. Think of websites like BuzzFeed, which has attracted a loyal following by, in their words, “creat[ing] authentic audience engagement that fosters real-world impact.” BuzzFeed reaches hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but they don’t do it by flooding readers’ newsfeeds with sponsored content. They do it by rewarding their readers with content they’re actually looking for. In other words, they attract and retain their audience by building the right kind of audience first — an audience that knows, likes and trusts the brand. POPSUGAR is another example of a news outlet that has built the right audience — millennial women — for itself. Or what about Tasty, which serves up videos of food, cooking and kitchen fun?
In the words of marketing guru David Meerman Scott, “You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” […]